Engine - AGS
Suitability Factors - Occasional mild language, Alcohol & Cigarette use
So, I promised I would soon have a review up, and here it is. 'Danny Dread is on Call' is a short comedic title from AGS forum member Green Boy.
The player takes control of Danny Dread, whose boss has the impudence to call him into work on his day off. All Danny wants to do is spend time with his girlfriend, however his boss is probably not a man to be brushed off. This is on the basis that he is, as the developer describes him, 'an egomaniacal mad scientist'.
When Danny arrives at work, he is asked to find an animal sample for the 'splice-o-matic'. Reluctantly, Danny accepts his task, thus beginning the player's journey. As is to be expected, the story is simple. It does however have a couple of fun twists that prolong the game after you think it may be over. Overall, the story provides a fun backdrop for the game.
A really nice touch is the way the story actually begins on the main menu screen. It's only brief, but does do a good job of hooking the player from the start.
The game's non playing characters are also worth a mention, with two in particular showing traits of well loved members of the LucasArts back catalogue. I wouldn't always consider this a positive, but in the context of this game it works very well.
No matter the quality of the story, a game attempting to be funny will always live and die by it's humour. Danny Dread certainly lives. The game perhaps isn't always riotously funny, however there are more than enough quips to keep the player smiling throughout, and there are certainly moments where players will be hard pressed to suppress a chuckle.
The visuals are good, although arguably they would have benefited from some extra sharpness in places and perhaps a less faded colour palette. Animations on the other hand are excellent, and really add considerably to the game's charm.
The game's soundtrack has very cleverly been put together by Mark 'Mods' Lovegrove, with the use of some classic LucasArts sound clips that seamlessly supplement the game's original music. The timing of these interludes really does make them work brilliantly.
One thing that did spoil the atmosphere a little was that I couldn't get the game to run full-screen. This may be a problem that only I have experienced however, and in truth the game-screen I did get was big enough not to ruin things.
Successfully balancing the use of inventory puzzles it seems is a hard skill to master. Such puzzles are often too easy, too obscure, or just used in completely the wrong situations. Thus it's a pleasure to be able to say that Danny Dread seemed to strike perhaps as good a balance as I've seen in a freeware title.
As the game doesn't take itself seriously, the use of inventory puzzles fits in fine with the tone of the game, plus in general the puzzles are neither too easy nor too obscure.
Danny Dread is by no means the Mecca of adventure game puzzles, but from a personal point of view, it does seem to provide a very good example of how and when LucasArts style inventory puzzles should be used.
Furthermore, the custom user interface looks very good and is well implemented also. Verbs can be selected from the bottom left of the screen while the right mouse button can be clicked to cycle through them. Some players will prefer one method, while some will prefer the other, so it's nice to have a choice of both.
Danny Dread is a great game in terms of pick-up and play value. It's uncomplicated, funny, and will easily stir up memories of the LucasArts heydays. It's short length is a shame, however the game certainly does enough to cement it's developer as one to watch. Only time will tell if I'm correct, however the little things matter and the developer it would seem is aware of this. What I expected to be a run-of-the-mill game has actually surprised me by displaying bags of invention and potential, even if it does unashamedly owe plenty to the LucasArts titles of the past.
- Great audio
- Well implemented SCUMM-like interface
- Too short
- Story is no more than a backdrop for the game
If you like this, try;
- Ben There, Dan That!
Download for free,
Danny Dread is on Call